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Invite an Author

Every month, we highlight an author in an initiative called "BCCLS Invite an Author". Many of these authors are happy to visit BCCLS libraries to chat with your book clubs or present programs either in person or via Skype. You can email them directly for more information or to schedule a library visit.

Previous Authors

January 2017

Jade Chang

Photo © Teresa Flowers.

Name:

Jade Chang

Email:

    hellojadechang @ gmail.com

Link:

    www.thewangs.com

Book:


Letter of Introduction:

Dear Colleagues:

What a great way to start 2017!

I’m kind of (read: very) excited to begin our new year with a writer who is enjoying tremendous success with her debut novel.

It is my great honor to present Jade Chang as BCCLS Invite an Author for January 2017.

Jade Chang has covered arts and culture as a journalist and editor. Her first paying job after college was as a researcher for the J. Peterman catalog. (Yes, where Elaine worked on Seinfeld—it's real!) She is the recipient of a Sundance Fellowship for Arts Journalism, the AIGA/Winterhouse Award for Design Criticism, and the James D. Houston Memorial scholarship from the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. The Wangs vs. the World is her debut novel. Jade lives in Los Angeles.

The Wangs vs. the World is a riches-to-rags tale about a wealthy Chinese-American who “loses it all, then takes a healing, uproarious road trip across the United States” (Entertainment Weekly). It’s an honest, epic family saga that feels like an immigrant story on its head, with lots of glamour amongst the gorgeous writing and wit.

Jade was interested in “depicting people of color occupying space in creative worlds without a lot of angst and, most importantly, without questioning their own legitimacy. My characters might struggle over their work, and their experiences as Chinese people influences their work, but they do not struggle over their Chineseness. I think that’s something that we don’t see enough, but it’s the lived reality of many people of color—including myself!”

On The Wangs vs. the World:

"VERDICT Fans of sweeping family sagas will be rewarded.'"

Library Journal

"In Chang's sparkling debut novel, a family whose fortune has been lost in the 2008 financial crisis takes a cross-country road trip in an effort to regroup...Chang's charming and quirky characters and comic observations make the novel a jaunty joy ride to remember."

Publishers Weekly

"Chang throws the immigrant journey on its head in this offbeat debut."

Booklist

"[The Wangs] is unrelentingly fun, but it's also raw and profane—a story of fierce pride, fierce anger, and even fiercer love."

NPR.org

Click here for our Author-ized! Interview with Jade Chang. (It is fabulous!)

Click here to see Jade’s entry in discover.bccls.org.

So much to talk about with Jade and The Wangs.

I hope many of you will contact Jade at hellojadechang @ gmail.com to arrange a Skype/Facetime visit with her.

From all of us at 810, warmest wishes for a Happy 2017 filled with great reads!

Warmest regards,

Arlene

 

 

 

What are you reading? What's on your nightstand?

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of books by people who I’m doing events with, which is really fun because you get to have some sense of the author as a person, too! I just finished reading Little Nothing by Marisa Silver and Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue, both brilliant in their own ways. On deck: Deceit and other Possibilities by Vanessa Hua and Waiting for Lipchitz at Chateau Marmont by Aris Janigian.

 

Where do you go to get inspired?

In general, I have too many ideas so I rarely set out looking for inspiration of that sort. But inspiration to sit down and work on those ideas can be very helpful! When I see anyone working really hard at something, whether it’s a little kid learning how to ride a bike, or a café that you can just tell is especially well-managed by someone who really cares about it, or a musician talking about the hours of practice that they put in, or even a really beautifully put-together grocery store display—really anything that shows dedication and skill and artistry—that inspires me to get to work, too. Also, I walk a lot. Los Angeles is full of wild canyons where you can climb a hill and work out a narrative issue in your mind.

 

What's something that surprised you recently (in a good way)?

The Army Corps of Engineers’ halting of the Dakota Access Pipeline Project! As I write this, news is literally just emerging. Of course this doesn’t kill the project entirely and we don’t know what might happen in the future, but it is at least an optimistic action and proof that there is power in protest.

 

Where do you write?

It’s hard for me to write fiction at home. The last year and a half that I was working on The Wangs vs. the World (which took five years to write!) I spent almost every evening at a coffeeshop or bar in Los Angeles—the buzz of noise and activity somehow helps me zero in and concentrate.

 

What/who makes you laugh? Why?

That is a hard question to answer! Pretty much anything that doesn’t make me cry makes me laugh.

 

Favorite fictional character ever?

And this is an impossible question to answer! I don’t think I can name an absolute favorite, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, one of my childhood favorites. So I thought my answer was going to be Francie Nolan, the young girl who is the protagonist of the book, but I think that it’s actually her mother, Katie—or maybe it’s their relationship that I love most. It takes them a long time to realize that they might agree on the most important things in life. Also, my two favorite moments in the book involve Francie appreciating something that her mother has done: the first is when she gets her children’s minds off the lack of food in the house by pretending that they’re all polar explorers and the second is at a meal for Francie’s graduation, when she makes her daughter proud and relieved by tipping the waiter with a sort of carefree flourish, even though she’s never had a restaurant meal before.

 

What are you working on?

I’m working on another novel, but it’s a little too early to discuss!